April 14, 2011

Still Piggish After All These Years

Remember that classic TV moment in which Bart Simpson sticks his finger in the electrical socket and seems surprised by the shock? Remember how he does it again and again, perhaps expecting different results each time? Is this the case with the anti-Castro community and their 50 years of electrical finger poking at the Cuban population to whom they refer to as “Castro?”

A half a century ago this week (April 17, 1961) our country invaded Cuba at Bay of Pigs. The bombing of airfields began a few days earlier (April 14, 1961). We told a bunch of lies to cover up our aggression, but due to the existence of competitive journalism, it didn’t take long for the truth to get out; one of the journalists called in to “meet” the supposed Cuban defectors noticed that the nose on the planes presented was different from the ones used by the Cuban air force.

Fifty years later; after 10 U.S. presidents and untold millions of U.S. tax dollars spent with as many lies told, Bart continues to expect a different response from the finger in the socket. Maybe it will tickle this time.

Even more disturbing is that the lies have not changed much, with the anti-movement recycling the very same lies over and over as if we were too stupid to see through the fog that springs them.

In that inimitable Bart Simpson style, our approach to Cuba is basically the same as it was under Eisenhower and Nixon; disrupt, harass, and lie about it to an American public that protects itself by simply “not knowing.”

The lies prepared for the invasion at Bay of Pigs, by E. Howard Hunt (and others who went on to faithfully serve Richard Nixon in the Watergate incident) included:

· The “illusion” that Cubans were ready to abandon Castro

· The “illusion” that Cuban children were about to become “militarized” by Castro (starting the Pedro Pan exodus of 14,000 children)

· Presenting fake planes and pilots, made up to look like Cuban defectors, to the American media

· Sending agents to Cuba prior to the invasion to blow up bridges and buildings and make it appear as if “Cubans” were starting a war against “Castro,” (a lie that persists to this day, although believable only in anti-Castro circles)

· That the masses would follow/welcome an American invasion (of course, this is now practically a requirement for every “boot on the ground” no matter what the conflict)

· The idea that we have “a solution” (although, does it seem realistic that the people that we’ve been starving and sabotaging “for their own good” will accept our benevolent leadership?)

These and similar lies established the pattern for Cuba, and have not changed much in the five decades since. We still want to blame the result of our actions on Castro.

Kennedy took public responsibility for the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and his popularity increased after doing so. Today, it doesn’t seem likely that the new corporate-owned “media” would even “find out” that the pilots were fake (and if they did, would they even report it? The Posada Carriles trial was barely mentioned in the media outside of Florida. Try doing a search at CNN for “Posada Carriles Trial.” And how long did it take us to discover that Sadam Hussein did not have WMDs? Some Americans still believe that Sadam is the one responsible for 9/11).

Seven months after the invasion, on November 16, 1961, President Kennedy addressed students at the University of Washington, stating that "We cannot as a free nation, compete with our adversaries in tactics of terror, assassination, false promises, counterfeit mobs and crises." Big, impressive words that resonated throughout America, but two weeks later, on November 30, Kennedy authorized Operation Mongoose, which aimed to eliminate Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, ushering a new age of “secret ops” against Cuba, and nurturing the “works” of anti-Castro terrorists Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch (among others).

Operation Mongoose is now remembered mostly for the many “wacky” assassination ideas, and will one day make a great comedy. This quality is explored in a serious documentary, “638 Ways to Kill Castro.”

The idea that we can “create obstacles” through covert operations, and blame the results on “Castro’s regime,” or “the tyrant,” or even “communist Cuba,” remains an appealing option that continues to receive federal funds and staffing.

Is winning through cheating the same as winning straight up? Is getting away with a lie the same as telling the truth?

And what about cheating, lying, terrorizing for half a century and still losing?

Eventually somebody will decide that we should give peaceful, non-murderous engagement a try. I thought it would have been the Obama administration.

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April 05, 2011

Nemesis or Killer?

It seems that lately I can’t think about Cuba without the “liar, liar, Posada Carriles trial” popping into my mind… taking up precious storage space that should rightly belong to songs by Chucho Valdez or Perez Prado, or even classic routines by Ricky and Lucy.

Most people are familiar with Ricky and Lucy, and some have heard of Chucho and Prado, but almost none have heard of Luis Posada Carriles?

“Isn’t he that Castro nemesis guy?” The young waitress, a Berkeley student, just took a lucky shot in the dark.

I keep coming across articles and comments that refer to anti-Castro veteran Posada Carriles as “Castro’s nemesis,” and I’m not sure I understand why. Is Posada Castro’s nemesis? Or is he just someone who met Castro briefly while they were young and has been obsessed ever since? Would you call Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Castro’s nemesis? Orlando Bosch? Jared Lee Loughner?

Does hating someone to the point of inhumanity make you their nemesis? And just how many nemeses does Castro have?

According to Dictionary.com, the word nemesis is a noun with some latitude; (1. something that a person cannot conquer, achieve, etc 2. an opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome. )

Somehow even meaning #2 seems inappropriate, as Posada never had any political aspirations outside the small part of the Cuban-American community that funds him and the powerful U.S. interests that protect him.

Still, the term “Castro’s nemesis,” which appears in many or most media descriptions of the ex-CIA agent now on trial, seems to buy a lot of forgiveness in red states and federal courts. It seems hand-picked by the anti-Castro movement, although it inaccurately describes the crimes that Posada lied about to U.S. officials after his illegal entry into the U.S.

In his 50-year career as an anti-Castro cold warrior, Posada has only killed innocents; students, teachers, tourists, bureaucrats, athletes, and is now showing us the weakness of our own legal system and our meager commitment to justice.

Will Posada reveal some ugly secrets about our past if he’s found guilty of lying?

And if Judge Cardone is successful in releasing him from his crimes, will future American children be taught that Carriles was a “freedom fighter” like Washington and Adams?


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